Summer Solstice

This weekend is full of holidays: today marks the summer Solstice (as well as Father’s Day, honoring dads and father figures; following yesterday’s Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of African Americans). On this longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, and we enjoy the shortest night. Also known as midsummer, or the beginning of summer depending on where you are, this holiday traditionally celebrates the height of the growing season. Crops are treated to the greatest amount of daylight, which plants harness using photosynthesis to convert into chemical energy in the form of carbohydrates. Plants, through this amazing process produce oxygen, supplying most of the energy necessary for life on Earth.

Fibershed, a growing global network of sustainable fiber farmers and producers, taught me through classes that, along with helping us breathe and feeding us, plants supply gorgeous natural coloring that’s perfect for all kinds of dye projects. Easily available and often free and waiting to be gathered, these are also free of the many toxins present in chemical dyes (although some plants should be used with caution) – which taint most of what we wear and touch, every day.

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Raw dye materials: (rear row) onions, oak galls, blackberry leaves, pomegranate husks; (front row) lichen, maple leaves, walnut husks, acorns

This weekend especially, I think of my father, who so loved nature and, like me, due to his shy and introverted nature felt most comfortable in the great outdoors. I think of him when I sow seeds in the garden, when hiking in the wilderness, and when creating gorgeous and unique fabrics to wear and use at home. Gratitude fills my heart for his love, for where we live, and the incredible bounty we share with nature.

Acorns

(Acorns)

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(purple cabbage boiling in the dye pot)

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(T-shirts dyed with purple cabbage; left was light blue, right was white)

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(turmeric dye: turmeric mixed with water)

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(turmeric-dyed curtain)

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(oxalis [clover] dye heating in the sun)

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(T-shirt dyed with oxalis)

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(above: T-shirt and embroidered cloth dyed with oxalis)

(below: embroidered cloth dyed with maple leaves, with iron tincture added)

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About thislittleplot

Writer, hiker, loafer
This entry was posted in Family, Garden, Nature, Seasons, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Summer Solstice

  1. mamings says:

    Beautiful dying from plants—I have never experienced dying fabric and the satisfaction of getting a unique color. You are an amazing pioneer woman to experiment and educate us in your endeavors. Thank you. May the Solstice bring healing energy to our bodies and our nation!

    • Thank you so much for reading, and always for your love and support! I learn so much always from others who have done these things before me, and freely share information and education to spread the good word about the joy and satisfaction these creative projects bring! Love to you!

  2. S. says:

    I loved your post. What lovely colors! I must try this. Thank you.

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